£2m of public funds supports BT’s roll-out of superfast broadband in Merseyside

More than 3,000 homes and businesses have just been added to the ‘Merseyside Connected’ roll-out plans for 2017 and 2018 in a £2m Government funded initiative. Tony McDonough reports.

A BT Openreach engineer working at a fibre broadband cabinet
A BT Openreach engineer working at a fibre broadband cabinet

Telecoms giant BT is to roll out its superfast broadband to more homes and businesses in the Liverpool city region.

More than 3,000 premises have just been added to the ‘Merseyside Connected’ roll-out plans for 2017 and 2018 as a result of around £2m provided by a Government fund.

A key area of focus will be business locations, including Knowsley Business Park, Liverpool and Sefton Docks, Birkenhead Waterfront, Wirral Waters, Wirral International Business Park, Haydock, Bootle office quarter, Stonebridge Cross and Edge Lane will all benefit.

Subject to planning consent it is expected that around 1,700 of the 3,000 premises will receive superfast speeds of more than 24Mbps.

At an event at Liverpool & Sefton Chamber of Commerce last week business leaders raised concerns about the lack of access to superfast broadband for local firms.

Cllr Gary Millar, Assistant Mayor and Mayoral lead for business and international trade at Liverpool City Council, the lead local authority on Merseyside Connected, said: “Under its initial contract with BT, the Merseyside Connected programme receives a refund if take-up reaches a certain point.

“As this has been achieved, the money will be used to extend the network to areas previously outside the planned coverage area which is great news.

“Investing public money in fibre broadband helps sustain our rural communities and maintains Merseyside’s competitive edge as a business destination.

“It also allows homeowners to do things that need a faster internet connection like accessing skills and learning, entertainment and other social connections.”

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